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3 Surprising ways PIM software is useful today

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3 surprising ways pim software is used today - ©iStockphoto.com/sefa ozel

1.) Present your brand’s products as engaging shoppable content across social media to reach a large (and lucrative) audience. (Social content)

2.) Manage GTINs (Global Trade Item Numbers) for all products, to comply with GS1 data quality requirements (Unique Identifier)

3.) The beauty of a SaaS / “In the Cloud” solution is that unlike legacy on-premise technology, it’s available anywhere, at any time, allowing you to scale quickly and accelerate time-to-value with little need for IT intervention. (PIM in the Cloud)

What is PIM software used for?

Product Information Management (PIM software) has been used in print catalogues for decades by retailers, brands and distributors, allowing businesses to consolidate, manage, and enrich their product information from a centralized source. Adoption of PIM grew in the early 2000s as e-commerce took off and, with it, the need to distribute that information to various customer touchpoints.

Since then, of course, online retail has continued to evolve and so, too, have the ways in which PIM software can be applied. The rise in social commerce, the development of GS1 barcode standards, and the widespread use of cloud-based solutions are just three examples of how PIM can be used today.

Three examples of how PIM can be used today:

1.) Social content

Used by around 3.5 billion people – 45 percent of the world’s population – social media represents a valuable channel for retailers. Sharing shoppable content on these sites puts a brand’s products in front of a huge – and potentially lucrative - audience. One third of Instagram’s users are aged 35 or older and, perhaps surprisingly, over one quarter of TikTok’s users are over 25. Linking the videos and pictures these users scroll through while on these sites directly to the products they feature makes for a seamless purchase experience. And the fewer steps they’re required to take, the more likely a consumer will be to make a purchase.

It’s here, then, that PIM can prove invaluable to a brand, ensuring up-to-date and accurate visual assets and accompanying product information are distributed to Instagram, TikTok, Facebook et al, for the most engaging shoppable content experience.

2.) Unique identifier

According to Nielsen, an average of 30,000 new products are launched every year, making it virtually, but not impossible, for brands and retailers to stay on top of every brand name, line extension, item description, and other descriptive information that accompanies them. Used throughout the supply chain, from manufacturer to distributors, the GS1 Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is a unique numerical representation of a barcode used to identify, measure, and track these items.

A GTIN serves as reference number for the GS1 Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), which enables any company, anywhere in the world, to share high-quality standardized product information. Importantly, many retailers – Amazon among them – insist on them. If it doesn’t have a GTIN, the e-commerce giant won’t sell your product.

Fortunately, most PIM systems integrate with GDSN data pools, allowing brands to manage GTINs for all their products, ensuring they comply with GS1 data quality requirements.

3.) PIM in the cloud

In an effort to improve agility and reduce costs, businesses everywhere are increasingly turning to flexible, lightweight, and scale cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions. Brands and retailers, looking to scale quickly and make the most of market opportunities, are no exception.

Cloud-based PIM, accessed as a SaaS solution, requires minimal resources, essentially working out-of-the-box, and accelerating time-to-value. It’s scalable, too; businesses can run it as a manageable monthly operating expense, rather than having to invest in new server capacity or additional IT specialists as their company grows. And little maintenance is required. A cloud-based PIM solution can be updated remotely, ensuring the latest and most efficient version is used at any given time – with no need for IT intervention.

The real beauty of the cloud, of course, is that, unlike legacy on-premise technology, it’s available anywhere, at any time. This accessibility has become especially important over the last 18 months, and is likely to remain so as many businesses adopt a hybrid working style post-pandemic.

The retail landscape has changed considerably since PIM was first introduced, and ongoing digital transformation efforts mean this change will continue long into the future. The applications for PIM

have changed along with, as have the ways in which PIM systems can be accessed and deployed. Whatever these changes may be, though, its value to brands and retailers remains the same.

Learn more about PIM, it’s benefits and where ground-breaking product experiences begin.